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Go to Monarch Watch
Photo by Paul B. Southerland,
courtesy of Monarch Watch

by Dorey Schmidt

Imagine a creature scarcely four inches across, with fragile orange and black wings, weighing less than half an ounce, flying up to six thousand miles to find warmth and shelter from winter climes.

Imagine tens of thousands of such creatures passing through Wimberley, pausing for only a few days to delight local nature lovers.

If you can imagine this, you have envisioned  the Monarch Butterfly migration, which happens every spring and fall..

In the fall, monarchs by the millions begin leaving the northern states when temperatures start to fall below 60°F, passing through the Hill Country in early to mid-October on their way to Mexico and Central America. Although their visit is brief, longer lingering may be encouraged by planting milkweed and  butterfly plants in your garden

In the spring, migrating females lay eggs on milkweed plants they find as they fly, recolonizing the southern United States before they die. Click here for more...

You can provide a special treat for the intrepid travelers by placing slices of watermelon in prominent sunny places in the yard. Scratch the surface of the melon flesh, and while the Monarchs gorge themselves on the sweet juices, you may enjoy their beauty until with a flap  of their wings, they bid us “adios” and continue south.

Go to Monarch Watch
Photo by Paul B. Southerland,
courtesy of Monarch Watch

Dorey Schmidt is a former Wimberley writer and publisher. The butterfly release at the EmilyAnn Theatre was Dorey's idea! She originally ordered the larvae and supervised the hatching and care and feeding of 250 Painted Lady Butterflies. The butterfly release is now a Wimberley tradition.


Enjoy a NOVA video about the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly, including stages of growth and the journey to Mexico. Click here...

Go to Monarch Watch
Photo by Karen Oberhauser,
courtesy of Monarch Watch

See why Central Texas is so important for the survival of these butterflies!

Read about drastic declines due to illegal loggers, and see the changes in monarch population over 14 years.

Read the migration news and check out the
migration maps for both seasons at

Want to learn more?

The University of Minnesota presents
Monarchs in the classroom in the
Monarch Lab.

A comprehensive list of resources for beginners
and experienced gardeners with information about
the delightful art of Butterfly Gardening. 
A global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change.
A great learning website for kids and excellent maps for all of us.
How to help...
Check out plants you can offer during
lifecycle stages. CLICK HERE!
Science Learning Network
A beautifully designed, informative site,
with photographs of Monarch development stages
and a very useful page of links.
 Landscaping with butterfly-friendly plants.
How to monitor a butterfly?
Almost like asking how to catch a cloud.
Nuts and bolts and more here.
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